Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) traveled to Hualien County yesterday to preside over a meeting on precautions against vote-buying, vote-bartering and violence in the upcoming county commissioner by-election.
Yu said at the meeting held at the Hualien County Police Bureau that the Aug. 2 by-election is the only major election before next year's presidential vote.
Therefore, Yu said, successfully preventing violence and vote-buying in the Hualien by-election is critical to maintaining domestic political stability in the run-up to the 2004 election.
Yu urged Hualien police to step up the campaign against vote-buying and violence in the upcoming by-election to lay a solid basis for similar future operations.
In the past, Yu said, candidates for various kinds of elections in Hualien liked to throw banquets and parties or offer giveaways, such as cigarettes, rice wine or betel nuts, to barter for votes.
"I hope local police officers will advise candidates in the upcoming by-election not to repeat such illicit practices," Yu said, adding that the National Police Administration will also join forces with prosecution authorities in helping with the crackdown against vote-buying and violence in the campaigning process.
With the voting day only three weeks away, the three candidates for the by-election have launched all-out campaign activities.
A group of DPP legislators, including Lo Wen-chia (
Wu Kuo-tung (吳國棟), a former Hualien county magistrate, who announced his candidacy in defiance of the KMT's stance, focused on visiting Hualien's administrative agencies to seek their staff members' support.
* Legislator Lo Wen-chia
* Legislator Tsai
* Legislator Chiu Yi-ying
* Legislator Chen Tao-ming
* Legislator Tu Wen-ching
* Legislator Chen Chao-lung
* Legislator Lan Mei-chin
Wu again called on the pan-blue alliance to "listen to the grassroots voices" and throw support behind his electoral bid.
The pan-blue alliance's nominee, Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山), set up his first support group in his hometown Shoufeng village yesterday. Many pan-blue political heavyweights, including KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), will stump for Hsieh when he opens his campaign headquarters tomorrow.